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Planned Parenthood’s “3%” assertion deserves “Three Pinocchios” Washington Post Fact Checker says

by | May 7, 2018

By Dave Andrusko

Editor’s note. We’re re-running this post because just last week the pro-abortion Snopes site uncritically recycled Planned Parenthood’s myth that abortion constitutes just 3% of its services. We’re starting several paragraphs in so as get to the meat of the post quicker and dealing with only one of two issues the Washington Post Factchecker addressed for clarity and continuity.

In today’s [August 12, 2015] Washington Post, the newspaper’s Fact Checker dissected one of PPFA’s most egregiously misleading claims. The headline? “For Planned Parenthood abortion stats, ‘3 percent’ and ’94 percent’ are both misleading.”

Frankly, I was stunned. For years, Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon, NRLC’s director of education & research, has written what seems like scores of stories debunking the notion that abortion is but an insignificant, tiny “service” provided by the good-hearted folks at Planned Parenthood.

But now…..

You could easily quibble with a thing or two in Michelle Ye Hee Lee’s analysis. Please read what she wrote today, but if you don’t have time, here’s the gist of her column paraphrased by yours truly along with representative quotes.

The nub of the problem is that Planned Parenthood has a convoluted way of making it seem that its abortion “services” represent only a miniscule percentage of the “health services” it provides–the aforementioned 3%. That and its unwillingness to provide a detailed breakdown of its “clients, referrals and sources of revenues.”

Ye Hee Lee’s goes through a series of steps to reach this conclusion (which Dr. O’Bannon has documented in even greater detail):

The 3 percent figure that Planned Parenthood uses is misleading, comparing abortion services to every other service that it provides. The organization treats each service — pregnancy test, STD test, abortion, birth control — equally. Yet there are obvious difference between a surgical (or even medical) abortion, and offering a urine (or even blood) pregnancy test. These services are not all comparable in how much they cost or how extensive the service or procedure is.

Ye Hee Lee’s gives the 3% claim “three Pinocchios.” Pinocchios refer to how deceptive an assertion is, with four Pinocchios representing the highest degree of distortion. Three Pinocchios means (according to the Post) that a statement has “ Significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions.” …

In a February 2011, factsheet entitled “Planned Parenthood by the Numbers,” PPFA repeats the claim that 3% of its “health services” are abortions. But it also admits that the percentage of its clients receiving “abortion services” is actually 12%.

That means nearly one out of every eight women walking through the door of a Planned Parenthood clinic has an abortion, not one in every 33 women. …

Ye Hee Lee also addresses the “total non-government health services revenue” that comes from doing abortions. She says that using prices for abortion published on Planned Parenthood’s national or affiliate websites and multiplying that by the number of abortions they report, one can obtain figures anywhere from 15 percent to 55 percent of the organization’s annual non-government health services revenues.

But because PPFA lacks “transparency,” Lee says, you cannot know for certain what percent is derived from abortions.

But, as Dr. O’Bannon has written, abortions provide at least $150 million in annual revenues.”And this is without even considering the higher cost of chemical abortions or later surgical abortions that many Planned Parenthood clinics advertise and perform,” he explains.

(The huge amount of governmental money PPFA rakes in is a separate topic.)

Lee concludes

While Planned Parenthood has no legal obligation to make its data more public, it is unfortunate that the public has limited access to data about the organization. Planned Parenthood could end the speculation–and Pinocchios–by providing a more transparent breakdown of its clients, referrals and sources of revenues.

Fat chance of that.

Categories: PPFA
Tags: PPFA